Australia Days 1-4: Gold Coast and Brisbane

We’ve transitioned from mountains and hiking in New Zealand to beaches and wildlife in Australia! We arrived in Gold Coast and spent some time attempting to surf before heading to Brisbane, where we enjoyed a koala sanctuary and a couple museums.

Gold Coast: Surfer’s Paradise

We flew from Christchurch to Gold Coast on Monday night.

We spent Tuesday morning taking a 2-hour group surf lesson at Surfer’s Paradise with Go Ride a Wave. They did a great job explaining the process and helping us build some foundational skills. By the end of it, we were both able to (briefly!) ride some small waves. It was fun, but I was pretty much completely dead by the end of it! It’s crazy to think how much time, effort, and energy surfers put into being able to skillfully ride big waves. We were too busy to take any photos or videos during the lesson, but we did take before and after shots!

After the surf lesson, we ate lunch and hung out on the beach for the afternoon. We then walked back along the Gold Coast Oceanway, took the train to Brisbane, and checked into our hotel there.

Brisbane: River Cruise

On Wednesday, we took a boat cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. During the cruise, they shared some interesting information about the city. A few things that we learned included:

  • Brisbane is prone to seriously damaging flooding. Despite this, they just keep repairing and rebuilding, often in the same areas.
  • One of the mega-mansions along the river was last bought for 7 million AUD (4.6 million USD). The owners are now trying to sell it for 44 million AUD (28.9 million USD)! So far, no takers.
  • Mangrove trees are protected by law in Australia because approximately 75% of tropical fish spend at least part of their lives in that habitat.

Brisbane: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was absolutely amazing!!! It has, of course, tons of koalas – but it also has so many cool animals that we’ve never seen before such as Tasmanian devils, wombats, and cassowaries.

Tommy’s favorite part was the free-range kangaroo and emu area, where we got to hand-feed kangaroos.

My favorite part was watching the many koalas cuddling, sleeping, having their food (eucalyptus leaves) changed out, and moving around.

Other highlights included petting a dingo, seeing a platypus swim around, and two informative shows (sheepdog herding and crocodile).

Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art 

After our river cruise back into town, we went to the Air exhibit at QAGOMA. I loved it! Tommy thought it some of it was okay.

We both agreed that our favorites were Ron Mueck’s In Bed and Jemima Wyman’s Plume 20. In Bed is an incredibly realistic oversized sculpture of a woman in a “ponderous and moderately troubled state of mind.”

Plume 20 is a collage made out of images of gas and smoke from protests around the world.

Brisbane: Museum of Brisbane

On Thursday, we went to the Museum of Brisbane, a social history and art museum. It had some very unique and fun exhibits. We both liked Play Moves best. This is a series of 6 interactive exhibits.

My favorite part was Michelle Vine’s room, where you could pick a funky, cozy object to wear and sit in/on furry furniture while listening to affirmations through headphones.

Tommy’s favorite part was Counterpilot’s reverse escape office rooms, which invited you to play with the objects to find hidden lights, music, and movement triggers.

We also both enjoyed talking to Gordon Hookey, the current artist in residence. He is an artist of many mediums, but his current exhibition at the museum is his personal collection of posters that he started in the 1980s. The most interesting part to me was hearing about Condoman, a long-running and very successful public health campaign. It is focused on informing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about how to protect themselves from STIs and HIV.

Up next, Airlie Beach!

2 Replies to “Australia Days 1-4: Gold Coast and Brisbane”

  1. Thanks, Emily and Tommy!

    We did see many of the same areas and it is fun to enjoy it with you as we see your slides!

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